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Initiative launched

Food and drink firms urged to innovate

Fergus Ewing
Fergus Ewing: boost for firms (photo by Terry Murden)

Scotland’s food and drink industry has today launched a campaign to support innovation in the sector.

Make Innovation Happen will be delivered through public sector and industry bodies working together, backed with £1.1 million from Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

In March, the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership launched ‘Ambition 2030’, the industry’s new strategy aimed at doubling turnover in the sector to £30 billion by 2030.   

Research shows that when a company innovates, they are twice as likely to grow and three times more likely to export.

The new Make Innovation Happen service will provide food and drink businesses in Scotland looking for information and support with a single, streamlined access route to help them innovate. This service includes support for both incremental and disruptive innovation and is open to all businesses across the supply chain from farm to fork.  

Co-chairs of the Scotland Food & Drink innovation working group are David Thomson, CEO, Food and Drink Federation Scotland, and Dr Alan Rowe of The Rowett Institute.  

Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said: “Scotland’s reputation as an innovative and globally trading nation is recognised but we need to keep moving forward.”

Jim Watson, director of innovation at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Business innovation is fundamental to Scotland’s economic growth. 

“We know innovation has a direct impact on business growth, with £488 million of additional domestic and international sales forecast from the companies we supported to innovate in 2015/16.” 

Andrew Richardson, director at Black Wolf Brewery in Stirling, said: “If you aren’t innovating then you’re going backwards as your competitors continually move forward.

“Thanks to the support we’ve received, Black Wolf Brewery has invested in a new bottling line which has enabled us to launch new packaging formats and access new markets.”

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